Minimalize and declutter your books

I LOVE reading. I just love books. reading is making me happy.
It was a time, not too long ago, That I was sure I am becoming addicted to reading. I used to have tons and tons of books. Along with the books i liked and bought, i also had many books regarding my profession.
That is all we are left with.Need to downsize more.
When i decided to minimize our family's lifestyle, i had to do something about all those books.

Believe it or not, books that are needing to be read and are seating in your library staring at you, could cause a lot of stress. It is just another chore, or work needing to be done. Letting go of those books gives you a sense of freedom. Don't hoard books in your home. Let someone else enjoy them. If you have to have them, you can always access them later. With wonderful libraries and Amazon and other on-line stores, You can almost always find the books you want later. For now, just set them free.
If you are truly attached to any book, keep them. After all, your happy emotions and good feelings are one of the reasons for decluttering.
My advise is, make a list of the titles you want and then let them go. As i already said, you can always borrow them from library or order an inexpensive used one from Amazon later, IF you really have to read any of those books.
Here are tips on how i did it and how you can do it.
  • As always, the first step is, STOP BUYING more books.
  • Gather and collect all the books in your home in one place.
  • Categorize them based on your own system. I categorized them based on written languages, School and study books, Novels and stories,( Classics and Biographies were in this category) Reading materials.
  • Go through each category. separate your most valuable books and keep them somewhere safe. If you have time, empty a part of your bookshelf and dust it. Then dust your valuable books and place them there, nice and organize, based on categories.
  • Set a fix number. If your valuable books are becoming too many, don't worry about them yet. You can always go back and reevaluate them. One way to keep this pile in control is to set a fix number.
  • Then remove every book that you don't like and you know you will never read, or in a humid place, have mildew.
  • Remove all the books that you already read and you know you will never read them again.
  • Remove all the books that you bought just with the hope of some day reading them. Make a list from those titles and enter it in your computer. Let them go.
  • Box all those books.
  • Party. You can have a small book party with some appetizers and wine and let your Friends pic their favorites first. This is a good excuse to have some fun in the mean time.
  • Donate or sell.Then you can bring them to the library for donation or consignment to have them sold. The sooner you get them out, the better. You can try to sell them individually on Amazon or Craigslist. But i recommend this only if the book is valuable. Otherwise, will not be worthed to spend all that time for just very little money.
  • Move fast and act before you change your mind or feel bad for letting them go.
  • Set a date. If there are books that you are not sure about and you will think you might read them, make a list first, then place them in a box and date them. Give yourself a time frame. Lets say few months, or a year. At the end of the time frame, donate the box. If you read any books in there, you can let it go and if you didn't have time or couldn't make time to read, it is time to let go and reduce the stress and guilt of unfinished work needing to be done.
  • Leave the rest alone for couple of weeks.
  • Check back on them and go through them again . you will be amazed how many books you are ready to let go of, the second time.
  • Keep repeating it again and again till you truly feel content.
  • Digitalize. Once you found your favorite bunch, look for digital copies of your favorite ones that you are probably not reading again, but just want to have it. Download a digital copy and let the physical copy go.
  • Keep. Only keep books that you are enjoying and reading over and over again. After all, the digital copy does not have that wonderful book smell.
  • Sign up. with your local library and start using them for free.
  • Borrow books from friends and family .When returning the books, thank them with some home made cookies. It is a win, win situation.
  • Keep repeating the steps above. You will see that books, that looked valuable in the past , are ready to go now.
I gave a way many many books. The amazing thing is that i do NOT miss them at all. I have been reading a lot more, because i use our local library.

Perks of decluttering? We read more. Other people can use our old books. My kids enjoy going to library. Less clutter to worry and organize. less dust ( books collect dust). Every body wins.
I remember as a kid, my father had a very big and very nice library. It consisted of thousands and thousands wonderful books he collected over the years. When we moved and downsized, they all ended up in the basement, Many years later, he decided to declutter and sell them. so he brought them up. Dusted them all lovingly. Separated his favourites. Packed rest of them gently with love and care. Then he contacted many book stores and finally found someone that was willing to buy them. The book dealer came and bought the whole thing based on their weight!!!! He paid so little that we were shocked. My dad just wanted to let them go, so he sadly accepted his offer. He had many valuable old books in there too. Back then in Iran, there was not an Amazon or Craigslist. We had to count on local stores for any transaction.
This incident deeply affected me. I learned a lot from it
  • I saw how our valuables could become nothings for other people.
  • I learned that books loose value so fast and the knowledge in them is important, not the physical papers.
  • I learned that books are not a good financial investments, but are wonderful companion and great knowledge investment.
  • I learned to not get attached to physical stuff, even books. 
  • I also learned that if there is any book i cherish and love, i must keep it and enjoy it.  
Did you decluttered your books yet?


  1. I have so many old books that I need to give away. Love your system. I am going to give it a try.

  2. Thank you. It is so nice to have less. We actually read a lot more since decluttering.

  3. Another option for letting go of books is You register the book, the release it into the world for other people to read and enjoy. Because the books are registered, you get the added pleasure of seeing where they travel to and are able to read other people's impressions of them. I'm thrilled whenever someone registers a book I've released!

    1. Thank you so much for this suggestion. I am going to give it a try. Sounds fun to see the destiny of your book :)